Welcome to the Cannibal Halfling Weekend Update! Start your weekend with a chunk of RPG news from the past week. We have the week’s top sellers, industry news stories, and discussions from elsewhere online.
DriveThruRPG Top Sellers for 9/10/2022
- Legend of the Five Rings: Writ of the Wilds
- WFRP: Sea of Claws
- Adventures in Rokugan
- Tales of the RED: Street Stories
- Swords of the Serpentine
Top News Stories
WotC removes racist depiction from Spelljammer: As the new edition of Spelljammer has become available, scrutinizing eyes turned to the Hadozee, a monkey-like race which had lore stretching back to the original 1982 release of Spelljammer (and to some degree back to the Yazirians in Star Frontiers prior to that). The problem is that the lore around the Hadozee involved them being a slave race, who then worked for the Elves that freed them. While this kind of material cruised along without much notice in the eighties (alongside other famously questionable D&D racial backstories like the Drow), when it came up again in the 2022 version of the product there was significant pushback. Wizards has removed the offending passages from Spelljammer products, but overall moves like this make fans question the intent of the company regardless of their statements.
Discussion of the Week
AI Art in RPGs: DriveThruRPG recently added a clause to their Product Standards Guidelines with regards to Tool- and AI-generated art, namely that it has to be filtered appropriately and that AI-generated Stock Art has to feature a disclaimer in the product description. Why put this in discussion instead of just news? Because it’s just a more official iteration of a discourse raging not just within DTRPG’s Discord but on general TTRPG twitter and elsewhere.
DTRPG’s policy is at least partially out of concern of generated art flooding the market. Game designers are interested in getting cheaper art, but that ranges the gamut from simply cutting costs to one-person outfits that may not be able to afford any art at all otherwise. With regards to DTRPG’s policy, there’s concern that the filtering may be used to cut products out of promotions or sales, along with to what degree a product should get caught by this (i.e. if only one piece of art out of many is tool-generated). Artists are concerned about their creations being fed into an algorithm and used by AI as part of its processes without any compensation (in other words, theft), as well as a general worry about losing income to a robot in an often already hardscrabble career.
Art has been proven to have a positive effect on TTRPG marketing (you need to catch those eyeballs) to the point that many feel it is mandatory, but it can be expensive for small creators, but also artists need to, you know, eat. Then there’s how exactly the AI is getting its ingredients. Suffice to say, this one won’t be over by the end of the weekend.
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